Putting (literal) space between you and the daily grind, the best island spa escapes are oases of calm, where you can rest and recharge, leaving the world behind.
From weekend trips to longer stays, unique and often transformative retreats are dotted across the globe, including at classic wellness locations such as the Caribbean and Maldives, as well as on some islands that may not be at the top of your spa-escapes radar. Read on to discover Citizen Femme’s guide to the best island spas. You’ll start to feel those knots in your shoulders unfurling already…
THE PACKING EDIT
The Maldives COMO Cocoa Island
It’s probably not surprising that the Maldives makes it onto our list, but the tranquility of the COMO Cocoa Island spa sets it apart, even within this famously relaxing location. Whether settling down on the massage table or unwinding by the pool, you’ll have unspoilt views of serene, clear waters and mesmerising coral reefs throughout your stay. For the best experience, book onto a Wellness Immersions package. These curated treatment plans allow you to target the stress or sluggishness that had you searching for the best island spa escapes in the first place.
THE HIGHLIGHT: COMO Cocoa Island is home to one of the only hydrotherapy pools in the Maldives. This water jet-based treatment will help melt away any remaining muscle soreness.
Turks & Caicos Amanyara
Found on the shores of an 18,000-acre nature reserve, Amanyara in Turks & Caicos is an island hideaway, tailored around complete peace of mind. After all, Amanyara translates as ‘peaceful’ and ‘gentle’. While the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters are a feast for modern eyes, it’s the island’s traditional healing practices and locally-sourced natural ingredients that make the Aman Spa special. Book a healing massage with local, organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, or leave your mind and body feeling cleansed with the spa’s signature purifying scrub, wrap, and massage treatment.
THE HIGHLIGHT: Throughout the year, Amanyara welcomes world-leading wellness experts to further guest relaxation. That includes acupuncturists, monks, and masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Thailand Soneva Soul at Soneva Kiri
With luxury island resorts in both Thailand and the Maldives, Soneva’s new Soneva Soul wellness concept brings ancient healing idioms and scientific innovations to paradise. While the grounding nature of Ayurveda and herbalism bring calm and relaxation, a host of new-age techniques really boost your recovery (and visage). Highlights include vitamin infusions, hyperbaric oxygen and ozone therapy, HydraFacials, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments. Plus, your plan is uber-personalised; the team of doctors and wellness experts use diagnostic tools – such as skin imaging and heart rate analysis – to discover what your body and mind really need.
THE HIGHLIGHT: If a great Instagram post gives you a little mood boost (we aren’t judging), Soneva’s retreats are a social-media dreamland. Will it be a personal slide into the Maldives’ waters, or photos of your stay in Thailand’s tropical rainforest cabins?
St Lucia Jade Mountain
Offering unobstructed, almost panoramic views of St Lucia’s coastline, the ultimate private-spa retreat experience comes to you at Jade Mountain Resort in St Lucia. That’s because treatments are available in the rooms – which are fittingly known as ‘sanctuaries’ – as well as Kai en Ciel, the boutique spa. With the resort’s iconic view of both the Piti and Gros Piton mountains in the background, you can experience an unforgettable 105 minute ‘Forget The Outside World’ full body treatment, designed to help you unwind when you arrive. We recommend you then take a soak in your own private infinity pool that extends out into the island landscape. Or, take the opportunity to have two therapists massage you in this unique setting as part of the ‘Four Hands’ offering, with products available from the site’s organic farm, as well as Aromatherapy Associates.
THE HIGHLIGHT: The Alchemy for Two is a romantic spa ritual for couples – perfect for honeymooners – which involves an oil-infused hot tub treatment, followed by side-by-side massages.
Crete Daios Cove
Greece has long been a centre of learning, and the study of wellness forms an important part of it. As far back as the 4th Century BC the Ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus, argued that ‘pleasure is the chief good in life’. At Daios Cove in Crete, they agree. Their wellness centre, Kēpos by Gogo, is inspired by the garden in which Epicurus studied, and offers a holistic approach to healing. Here you can sign up for bespoke fitness programmes, high-tech healing such as hyperbaric oxygen and cryotherapy, dips in a thermal bath, and the best-of-the-best skincare underpinned by surgically-inspired products from 111SKIN.
THE HIGHLIGHT: This is your chance to achieve a medical-grade facial and spa experience, with an unforgettable Grecian backdrop.
Bali The Pavilions
The Pavilions Bali balances private-retreat relaxation with opportunities to discover the island’s mesmerising cultural heritage. Their curated journeys take the stress out of trying to combine guided tours with R&R, and they begin with a welcome foot massage to take the edge off post-flight. The seaside town of Sanur – the birthplace of Bali tourism – is a short walk away too: visit to get your cultural-fix before returning to the cocooning garden sanctuary spa. Only organic homemade treatments are used here, and you can also learn how to prepare your own aloe vera facial products. Don’t worry though, if you’re too relaxed to even lift a finger, the range of signature massages require you merely lie back, and enjoy.
THE HIGHLIGHT: For a treatment fit for a queen, try the Royal Lular treatment which involves traditional massage, masking, and bathing rituals. It was once reserved only for Indonesian royalty.
Capri, Italy Capri Palace Jumeriah
Providing panoramic views of the Naples Gulf, Capri Palace Jumeirah is home to the award-winning Capri Medical Spa. Here you’ll find a spa experience that’s a beauty editor’s secret to better-looking legs: The Leg School. This five-to-seven-day tailored programme, led by expert Professor Francesco Canonaco, utilises unique mud-bandaging techniques and involves walks in varying-temperature Kneipp pools; all designed to improve the appearance and health of your limbs. For the rest of your body and face, choose from a wealth of treatment plans combining holistic techniques – including seawater therapy with targeted infrared, radio-frequency, and aesthetic treatments. When your spa time is over, eat your fill at the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant.
THE HIGHLIGHT: Artistic types will love Capri Palace Jumeirah. The hotel works with contemporary artists and its walls are dotted with unique, captivating artworks.